For Parents

Discovering your child is self-harming can be shocking and stressful. You may understandably feel confused, angry, scared or rejected. We’ve collected some of the most useful resources for you here and some good advice from young people who have been through it.
The first step is talking about it and understanding the emotions that lead people to harm themselves. Young people who self-harm often say they use it as a coping strategy to help with emotional distress. It can briefly help to make them feel they are in control or ease painful feelings, but they may feel worse again afterwards. Understanding why your son or daughter self-harms and getting their trust is important. A lot of the ways of coping are to do with learning better ways to manage anxiety or other distressing feelings. There are some helpful techniques that people can use instead of self-harming to release their distress – many of these are incorporated into the Apps listed at the bottom of this page.


Charlie Waller Memorial Trust video made with parents and young people (scroll down for the film for young people)

A personal view from someone who has self-harmed

Self-harm help for young people 

Self-harm can be a way of coping with upsetting emotions or when you feel overwhelmed. Many people however find it only helps for a short time. Learning to cope in other ways when you feel panicky, upset or angry is a good first step which can help you feel more in control. There is lots of help and support available. Click here to find out what self-harm means and what you can do about it. 


  • Calm Harm Ideas that you can do when you have the urge to self harm with appealing graphics.  You can add your own ideas too. Click on the name to take a look.
    ‘ You can complete a log/journal of experiences that might trigger the urge to self-harm or you can just choose activities (under ‘ride the wave’) that can be useful depending on how you are feeling.  These include self-soothing, distraction, writing, doing something active etc.  There are more tips in the section called ‘get help’ (Therapist)
  • Distract Good for signposting to other services, and has some self-harm educational information as well as links to Art, Books and Films.